Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Johnson, Norah

Second Advisor

Bekhet, Abir

Third Advisor

Jerofke-Owen, Teresa


Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and/or loss of interest that effects an individual’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Depression can diminish one’s social functioning, interpersonal relationships, personal care, and work productivity. Despite the availability of various treatments for depression, roughly 34% of people suffering from depression symptoms do not seek treatment. Significant barriers for seeking help for depression symptoms include the stigma of mental illness and a lack of trust in healthcare providers; however, there is a paucity of research exploring the relationship between mental illness stigma and the role of trust in providers on willingness to seek help for depression symptoms. The research shows that increased mental illness stigma is associated with decreased trust in providers, while higher levels of patient trust in providers is associated with more positive health outcomes and satisfaction. The primary care setting is frequently the first point of care for patients experiencing mental health challenges, yet the majority of the literature exploring mental health help-seeking attitudes is focused on mental health professionals and not Primary Care Providers (PCPs). The role of trust in one’s PCP as a potential moderator to depression self-stigma and facilitator to increased willingness to seek help for depression symptoms from a PCP remains underexplored. This study aims to fill a gap in the state of the science by investigating the role of trust in one’s PCP and depression self-stigma in predicting willingness to seek help for depression symptoms from a PCP. A non-experimental correlational cross-sectional descriptive survey study design was used. The variables of interest depression self-stigma and trust in provider were measured using reliable and validated instruments. Participants were recruited through a non-probability convenience sample by way of a public Facebook advertisement and a research flyer posted throughout the community with a link to the online Qualtrics survey. Findings from this study gleans important implications to nursing practice, as a large portion of Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are working as PCPs. Results of this study consistently revealed that trust in PCP predicted willingness to seek help for depression symptoms from a PCP. These findings help guide future mental healthcare initiatives and best practices in relation to the patient-provider relationship in the Primary Care setting.

Included in

Nursing Commons